Kargador at Dawn

Kargador at Dawn
Work in the Vineyard

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)


Readings: Isaiah 25: 6-10; Philippians 4: 12-14; Matthew 22: 1-14

Selected Passage: 'The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.' (Matthew 22: 8-9)

Meditation: The Parable tells us of God’s invitation to ALL! One caveat is finding ourselves NOT WORTHY TO COME.

In responding to God’s call, we should do it properly. It is not enough to be present. We should show respect to the host, as well as, exhibit self-respect and exhibiting good behavior. We do not take the invitation for granted and neither do we trivialize God’s invitation. BEWARE! Cf. www.badaliyya.blogspot.com

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD

Dhikr is an Arabic word which means REMEMBRANCE.
1st step: Write the text in your heart.
2nd step: Let the text remain always in on your lips and mind - RECITING the text silently as often as possible...
3rd step:  Be attentive to the disclosure of the meaning/s of the text in your life.



Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Always in a Hurry

ALWAYS IN A HURRY

As a priest, I can rationalize this by pointing to the importance of the ministry. Ministry is meant to conscript us beyond our own agenda, but deeper down, I know that much of this is a rationalization.  
Sometimes too I rationalize my busyness and hurry by taking consolation in the fact that I came to be this way legitimately. It’s in my genes. Both my father and my mother exhibited a similar struggle. They were wonderful, moral, and loving parents, but they were often over-extended. Responding to too many demands is a mixed virtue.
It’s no accident that virtually all of the classical spiritual writers warn about the dangers of overwork.  Indeed, the dangers of haste and hurry are already written into the very first page of scripture where God invites us to make sure to keep proper Sabbath. When we are in a hurry we see little beyond our own agenda.
The positive side to haste and hurry is that they are, perhaps, the opposite of acedia. The driven-person who is always in a hurry at least isn’t constantly struggling to get through the morning to the lunch hour. She always has a purpose. As well, haste and hurry can help make for a productive individual who is affirmed and admired for what he does, even as he is stepping over his own children to get to his workplace.  I know this too: I get a lot of affirmation for my work, even as I have to admit that pressure and hurry prevent me much of the time from being a Good Samaritan.
Haste makes waste, so goes the saying. It also makes for a spiritual and a human blindness that can severely limit our compassion.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)


(In the Philippines, the second Sunday of October is dedicated to the Indigenous Peoples)

Readings: Isaiah 5: 1 -7; Philippians 4: 6-9; Matthew 21: 33-43
Gospel Passage: “42 Jesus said to them, "Did you never read in the scriptures: 'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes'?  43 Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.” (Matthew 21: 42-43)

Meditation: The chief priests and the elders of his people rejected Jesus yet God has made him the very cornerstone of the kingdom.  Whoever believes in Him is given the power to be God’s children and the reign of God lives in him/her.  And the reign of God in us should grow and expand and bear fruit.

Today, we accompany the Indigenous Peoples who continue to aspire for their own ancestral domain and right to live according to their customary laws within the said domain.

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...
1st step: Write the text or Dhikr (the Arabic word for REMEMBRANCE) in your heart.
2nd step: Let the text remain always in on your lips and mind - RECITING the text silently as often as possible...
3rd step:  Be attentive to the disclosure of the meaning/s of the text in your life.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Beware of Misguided Loyalties

MISGUIDED LOYALTIES


Real love and real loyalty never say: This is my family, my country, or my church – right or wrong! Instead, when things are wrong, they tell us to show love and loyalty not by protecting our own, but by confronting what’s wrong.

That’s the biblical tradition of the prophets. They loved their people and were fiercely loyal to their own religious tradition, but they were not so blindly loyal so as to be uncritical of the real faults inside that religious community. They were never constrained by false loyalty so as to be blind to the sins within their own religious structures and remain muted in the face of those faults. They never said of their religious tradition: Love or leave it!  Instead, they said: We need to change this – and we need to change it in the name of loyalty and love.

Jesus followed in the same path. He was faithful and loyal to Judaism, but he was not silent in the face of its faults and wrongdoings in his time. In the name of love, he challenged everything that was wrong.

Jesus would be last person to teach that loyalty and love mean never criticizing your own. Indeed, he de-literalizes the meaning of family, country, and church and asks us to understand these in a higher way. He asks: Who is my mother and who are my brothers and sisters? And he goes on to say that these are not to be defined by biology, country, or religious denomination. Real family, he says, is made up by something else: by those who hear the word of God and keep it, irrespective of biology, country, or religion.

Consequently biology, country, and religion must be criticized and opposed whenever they stand in the way of this deeper union in faith and justice.

For Jesus, faith and justice are thicker than blood, country, and church. Genuine love and loyalty manifest themselves in a commitment to challenge things that are wrong, even when that means seeming to be disloyal to one’s own.


Saturday, September 23, 2017

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

Short Reflection for the 25th Sunday of the Ordinary Time (A)

Readings: Isaiah 55: 6-9; Philippians 1: 20 – 24. 27a; Matthew 20: 1-16a

Selected Passage: “Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?” (Matthew 20: 14-15)

Meditation: Heaven is NOT the fruit of our merit or work. It is the fruit of God’s mercy and generousity.  God is kind and merciful. He deals with us according to our needs. And no one is considered a latecomer in the kingdom of God.  God has room for everyone. We do not fault God for saving all.  Do we?

www.badaliyya.blogspot.com

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD

Dhikr is an Arabic word which means REMEMBRANCE.

1st step: Write the text in your heart.

2nd step: Let the text remain always in on your lips and mind - RECITING the text silently as often as possible...

3rd step:  Be attentive to the disclosure of the meaning/s of the text in your life.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)


Readings:  Sirach 27: 30 – 28:7; Romans 14: 7-9; Matthew 18: 21 - 35

Selected Passage: “Then Peter approaching asked him, "Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.” (Mt. 18: 21-22)

Meditation: How many times should I forgive people who have offended me? The gospel challenge is to forgive them as often as they ask.  This is tough! But the very message of Christianity is, precisely, to love and forgive without LIMIT!  Yes, it is about forgiving one’s brother and sister who hurts us many times. For Christ, there is NO limit to forgiveness. www.badaliyya.blogspot.com

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD

Dhikr is an Arabic word which means REMEMBRANCE.
1st step: Write the text in your heart.
2nd step: Let the text remain always in on your lips and mind - RECITING the text silently as often as possible...
3rd step:  Be attentive to the disclosure of the meaning/s of the text in your life.



Monday, September 11, 2017

Islam and the West: Encounter or Clash?

Islam and the West in Europe: Encounter or Clash?
The growing presence of Muslims in Europe raises the question of compatibility between different views in the public sphere
Javier Maria Prades López | Oasis. 07 September 2017

The latest report by the Pew Research Center offers surprising data on the evolution of religions: Christianity currently represents 31.2 percent of the world’s population and Islam 24.1 percent. It is estimated that by 2060 Christianity will reach 31.8 percent, against 31.1 percent reached by Islam. The statistics predict that by mid-century the two religions will have roughly the same number of followers as well as that, together, they will comprise nearly 63 percent of the world’s population.

The evolution of each of the two religions and their mutual relationship is therefore of great interest for the social debate in the West. In fact, Islam preaches a form of monotheism that intends to reform and overcome the Jewish-Christian monotheism, besides also claiming to be a universal truth, differently from the religions of the Far East, for instance. For this reason, the growing presence of Muslims in Europe opens once again the question of the compatibility between different worldviews in the public sphere. Is an encounter between the West and Islam truly possible, or are they condemned to clash?

European societies struggle in dealing with this delicate situation, with obvious internal differences that cannot be dealt with here. In general terms, popular culture has undermined universal anthropological claims, especially those of the religion lived out in the West: Christianity. Following the Reformation, the cultural and political unity of the medieval faith broke into parties that fought wars with devastating effects on social life. For this reason, modern philosophy was born – among other things – with the intention of overcoming confessional divisions and maintaining some form of universal reference point that would guarantee coexistence.

At the end of the process, the universal value of Christian faith was challenged, while alternative forms of secularized universality started to appear. Thus, Reason, Science, State, History, Race and Market took God’s place. Nevertheless, there is often talk of “unsatisfied modernity”: the unquestionable technological and scientific progress of Western Europe, its very high level of economic and social development (which many envy) has not been accompanied by a comparable progress as far as questions on the meaning of life and God are concerned. The two atrocious wars of the twentieth century and totalitarianisms spread a dark shadow over Europe.

Even Islamic culture, however, is struggling to be an appropriate interlocutor. Recent years’ “revolutions” rose indeed from the fact that in these societies the need for freedom and other economic and social rights emerged. Uprisings were born in conditions of severe poverty and the lack of opportunities, particularly in terms of jobs. This demand for effective, concrete freedom can be perceived as a threat to religious universality, which is bound to the social order to the point that religion can appear to be a form of belief subordinate to that order. Islam will have to face this demand for freedom, and especially religious freedom, which is asking to thoroughly examine the understanding of human dignity. By claiming greater civil participation, the question raised will be about the kind of man who can be at the center of the third millennium. And this question is crucial in the West as well.

Right now, there are more questions than answers, both in the Western and Islamic world. The Muslim presence in Europe reveals that we do not share an answer about the universal value of anthropology and, in particular, of religion.

Starting from the inalienable social and legal achievements of recent centuries, it is necessary to revise the model that has been in force so far, since it is unable to meet the challenges posed by the growing Muslim presence. And vice versa, the long journey of the West can offer very precious elements to the Muslim world. A kind of Christianity that is alive represents an exceptional opportunity for Islam and, in turn, Islamic universalism forces us to rethink the reasons behind the anthropological and cultural crisis that the West with its Christian tradition is living.

Everyone can see that the coexistence between Christians and Muslims has been very complex and sometimes even extremely violent. Christians and Muslims are still suspicious of each other. Pope Francis’ historic visit to Egypt pushes us to decide whether we want to perpetuate this mutual exclusion or if we are willing to favor a culture of the encounter, supporting the “process of hybridization of civilization and culture” (Angelo Scola), starting with experiences of real relationships, however conflicting they might be, which already exist in Europe and the Near East.

The challenge goes beyond the essential safety and security measures. It requires personal implication. It is not even enough to simply provide humanitarian assistance; it is necessary to learn how to mutually accompany, listen, and explain, through patient dialogue and education, as the Pope suggests: “Education indeed becomes wisdom for life if it is capable of ‘drawing out’ of men and women the very best of themselves, in contact with the One who transcends them and with the world around them, fostering a sense of identity that is open and not self-enclosed.”1

The Pope’s gesture does not allow us Christians to be disinterested in the present moment. It is up to us to witness to everyone, and in the first place to all Muslims, that universal truth and freedom are bound together. They will either stand or fall together. Their most perfect relationship is that of love: “Nothing conquers except truth; the victory of truth is charity” (St. Augustine). The Pope’s journey calls into question the crystallized aspects of our conventional form of living the faith in our society, and urges us to start a process of encounter and education. Each encounter worthy of this name changes its interlocutors. Will change be possible so that this open identity will contribute to the good life of all? Many of our Christian brothers in the East and the West, and many Muslims, are waiting for this.

[This article was published on the Spanish newspaper ABC on Monday, June 12, 2017 - page 3].

1His Holiness Pope Francis, Address to the participants in the International Peace Conference, al-Azhar Conference Center, Cairo, 28 April 2017

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Pope Francis snd Patriarch Bartholomew Joint Message

Pope Francis’ and Patriarch Bartholomew’s Message
The story of creation presents us with a panoramic view of the world. Scripture reveals that, “in the beginning”, God intended humanity to cooperate in the preservation and protection of the natural environment.
At first, as we read in Genesis, “no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up – for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground” (2:5).
The earth was entrusted to us as a sublime gift and legacy, for which all of us share responsibility until, “in the end”, all things in heaven and on earth will be restored in Christ (cf. Eph 1:10).
Our human dignity and welfare are deeply connected to our care for the whole of creation. However, “in the meantime”, the history of the world presents a very different context. It reveals a morally decaying scenario where our attitude and behaviour towards creation obscures our calling as God’s co-operators.
Our propensity to interrupt the world’s delicate and balanced ecosystems, our insatiable desire to manipulate and control the planet’s limited resources, and our greed for limitless profit in markets – all these have alienated us from the original purpose of creation.
We no longer respect nature as a shared gift; instead, we regard it as a private possession. We no longer associate with nature in order to sustain it; instead, we lord over it to support our own constructs. The consequences of this alternative worldview are tragic and lasting.
The human environment and the natural environment are deteriorating together, and this deterioration of the planet weighs upon the most vulnerable of its people. The impact of climate change affects, first and foremost, those who live in poverty in every corner of the globe.
Our obligation to use the earth’s goods responsibly implies the recognition of and respect for all people and all living creatures. The urgent call and challenge to care for creation are an invitation for all of humanity to work towards sustainable and integral development.
Therefore, united by the same concern for God’s creation and acknowledging the earth as a shared good, we fervently invite all people of goodwill to dedicate a time of prayer for the environment on 1 September.
On this occasion, we wish to offer thanks to the loving Creator for the noble gift of creation and to pledge commitment to its care and preservation for the sake of future generations. After all, we know that we labour in vain if the Lord is not by our side (cf. Ps 126-127), if prayer is not at the centre of our reflection and celebration.
Indeed, an objective of our prayer is to change the way we perceive the world in order to change the way we relate to the world. The goal of our promise is to be courageous in embracing greater simplicity and solidarity in our lives.
We urgently appeal to those in positions of social and economic, as well as political and cultural, responsibility to hear the cry of the earth and to attend to the needs of the marginalized, but above all to respond to the plea of millions and support the consensus of the world for the healing of our wounded creation.
We are convinced that there can be no sincere and enduring resolution to the challenge of the ecological crisis and climate change unless the response is concerted and collective, unless the responsibility is shared and accountable, unless we give priority to solidarity and service.
From the Vatican and from the Phanar, 1 September 2017
Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

Friday, September 01, 2017

The Theological Roots of Islamic Extremism

Khawarij as the Theological Roots of Extremism in Islam…

With the emergence of the virulent Extremism in the World of Islam, studies and researches both by Muslims and non-Muslims have emerged in the last 20 years.  Most scholars, today, trace the theological roots of Extremism in Islam from
the main doctrine of the Khawarij and of their intellectual descendants of every era.

The Khawarij had accused ‘Ali, Uthman and the companions of the camel, the two arbitrators (Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari and ‘Amr bin al-‘As), and all those who had approved of arbitration, of the two arbitrators and at least one of them of unbelief (kafir). They thought moreover that the Caliph of the Muslims had to be elected by all Muslims, that the fact of belonging to the Qurayshi tribe was not a binding condition, and that it was actually better if the Caliph was not a Qurayshi so that he could be displaced or killed if he deviated from the Shari’a. On the basis of this principle they elected ‘Abd Allah bin Wahhab, who did not belong to the Qurayshi tribe and named him Commander of the Faithful (Caliph).

The Khawarij is an Islamic sect formed within the context of the crisis surrounding the prophet's succession. When the third Caliph ‘Uthman was assassinated in 656, he was succeeded by ‘Ali, the prophet’s cousin and son-in-law. But the Qurayshi clan, of which ‘Uthman was a part, reclaimed justice for the assassinated Caliph and contested ‘Ali's succession. Two Qurayshi, Talha e Zubayr waged war against ‘Ali close to Basra, but lost their lives in what became known as the Battle of the Camel.

In 657, at Siffin, a new conflict arose between ‘Ali partisans (in arabic shi‘at ‘Ali, from which the name ‘Shi’ite’ is derived) and the Qurayshi, led by Mu‘awiya the governor of Syria. But both sides decided to interrupt hostilities and resort to an arbitration to resolve the caliphate succession. A part of ‘Ali’s followers, the Khawarij, refused the principle of arbitration adducing that the “judgement is God's only”, accusing of apostasy both Mu’awiya – for having rebelled against the legitimate Caliph – and ‘Ali – for having accepted the arbitration

The opinion of the Khawarij regarding unbelief of sinners is based on the idea that works are a pillar of faith. The Salaf [the first generations of Muslims, considered an ideal example to be imitated] “among whom Malik [ibn Anas], al-Shafi‘i, Ahmad [ibn Hanbal] and Ishaq bin Rahawayh, maintained that faith comprises of belief (i‘tiqad), confession (iqrar) and works (‘amal). They believed, however, that believing is at the basis of faith, that confession is an expression and sign thereof (in the presence of which society can apply norms of faith to those who profess it), and that works are a condition for having a perfect faith. If works are not carried out, one’s faith is imperfect, but its foundation is still intact”. Ibn Hajar said: “The Salaf have stated: [to have faith means] to believe with the heart, profess with one’s tongue and act according to the Pillars [of Islam, in other words, prayer, fasting, etc.]”.

This is the fundamental idea of the Khawarij, from which others have been derived, such as the idea that all faults are grave sins (kaba’ir) and whoever commits them is a non-believer destined to dwell within the Fire for eternity. With this they intended that works are the condition for the perfection of faith.

In this context, the Khawarij separate themselves from the other faithful accusing them of unbelief. It is this group which has given birth to extremists and jihadists. 

The opinion of the Khawarij is contradicted also by what al-Bukhari reports regarding the story of a wine drinker: “Numerous times a drinker was brought to the Prophet – may peace and prayer be on Him – and some of his own said ‘God damn him.’ But the Prophet – may prayer and peace be on him – replied: ‘Don’t be of help to Satan against your brother.’” And in his Sunan Abu Dawd adds: “Rather say: ‘Oh God, forgive him! Oh God, have mercy on him!’” Hence, the golden rule: nothing can make you leave Islam except the refusal of what first made you enter it.

Al-Bukhari reports, relying on Abu Dharr, God be pleased by him, that the Prophet – may prayer and peace be on Him – said: “If a man accuses another man of iniquity and unbelief, these accusations will be redirected towards himself if the man he accuses is not guilty.” Thus in
Islam a sinner continues to be a Muslim and cannot be excommunicated. Faith does not fail even if works fail

To this end Ibn Taymiyya said something very important: “Nobody can accuse a Muslim of unbelief, no matter how much he has sinned or erred, until proof has been shown against him. If someone declares oneself a Muslim, a doubt is not enough, real proof is needed in order to declare him guilty. God does not deny the faith of Muslims that fight each other, as His words show: “If two parties of the believers fight, put things right between them; then, if one of them is insolent against the other, fight the insolent one till it reverts to God's commandment. If it reverts, set things right between them equitably, and be just. Surely God loves the just” (49:9). 

Beware of the Extremists!

Eliseo ‘Jun’ Mercado, OMI
Badaliyya – Philippines
June 3, 2017


(Note: This research is based on the speech by Shayk Ibrahim al-Hudhud, President of al-Azhar University, at the seminar of the Joint Committee for Dialogue between the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and al-Azhar, 22nd-23rdFebruary 2017. The speech was delivered in Arabic.)